Cross Examination the Lincoln Way

Thursday, March 16, AD 2017


I have always loved this scene from Young Mr. Lincoln (1939).  Few things are more enjoyable for a trial attorney than a cross examination that is tearing up the opposition case!  Of course in real life in the video above the prosecutor would be on his feet constantly objecting:  Argumentative!  Assumes facts not in evidence!  Mr. Lincoln is using a document that has not been admitted into evidence!  If Mr. Lincoln is going to testify let him be sworn in! Etc.  Of course this was done at a time when most judges tended to give a great deal of lee-way to counsel in their questioning of witnesses, especially in a frontier court and the jury might assume with frequent objections that the prosecutor was attempting to keep the truth from them and vote not guilty as a result.  In any case it is a great scene.

Adlai Stevenson, who would go on to be Vice-President of the United States, when he was young saw Lincoln in action in cross-examination:

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2 Responses to Cross Examination the Lincoln Way

  • He killed him because he could. Cass killed Scrubs because he could. The ultimate power over life and death is procreation upon which even God waits; never homicide.

  • I once appeared for the pursuers in a partnership action. There were allegations that the defender had deceived and imposed on his partners, received secret commissions from the firm’s suppliers and had used the firm’s name to secure his personal borrowings.

    It so happened that his name was Cranstoun. Now, I have a slight knowledge of Scottish armorials and genealogy and, at my request, my instructing solicitors ascertained that he was indeed an impecunious member of the noble Midlothian family of that name.

    “What is your family motto?” I asked him

    “Family motto? I really don’t recall.”

    “Let me help your memory.” [Passing him a copy of Burke, with the page marked]

    The witness read, sullenly enough, “Thou shalt want ere I want.”

    Someone in the public gallery guffawed and that little incident unsettled the witness completely.

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PopeWatch: Anti-Semitism

Thursday, March 16, AD 2017



It would take a blind man not to notice that anti-Semitism is growing in strength on the left.  Unsurprisingly with the advent of Pope Francis, definitely a man of the left, anti-Semitic tropes are beginning to emerge within the Church.  Sandro Magister gives us the latest:


“Israel, people of a jealous God. Consistencies and ambiguities of an elitist religion.” Already from this conference title wafts an air that is by no means friendly for Jews and Judaism.

But if one goes to read the original text of presentation, there is even worse to be found: “thinking of oneself as a people belonging in an elitist way to a unique divinity has determined a sense of the superiority of one’s own religion.” Which leads to “intolerance,” “fundamentalism,” “absolutism” not only toward other peoples but also in self-destruction, because “one has to wonder to what extent the divine jealousy may or may not incinerate the chosen’s freedom of choice.”

And yet these were the initial title and presentation of a conference that the Italian Biblical Association has scheduled from September 11-16 in Venice.

The statutes of the ABI are approved by the Italian episcopal conference, and its members include about 800 professors and scholars of the Sacred Scriptures, Catholic and not. Among the speakers at the conference in September is the leading biblicist at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Belgian Jesuit Jean-Louis Ska, a specialist in the Pentateuch, which in Hebrew is the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. No invitation to speak, however, has been extended to any Jewish scholar.

But the rabbis could not remain silent. And they have made themselves heard with a letter to the ABI signed by one of their most authoritative representatives, Giuseppe Laras, the news of which was first covered by Giulio Meotti in “Il Foglio” on March 10.

An extensive extract from the letter is reproduced further below. But first a couple of notifications are in order.

When Rabbi Laras writes of a “Marcionism” that is now emerging with ever greater insistence, he is referring to the school of thought that from the second-century Greek theologian Marcion until our day contrasts the jealous, legalistic, warlike God of the Old Testament with the good, merciful, peaceful God of the New Testament, and therefore, as a result, the Jewish followers of the former with the Christian followers of the latter.

Not only that. Laras – still remembered for his dialogues with Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini – makes reference to Pope Francis as one who perpetuates this contrast.

And in effect it is not the first time that authoritative representatives of Italian Judaism – like the chief rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni – have criticized Francis for the distorted use of the term “pharisee” or of the comparison with Moses to cast discredit on his adversaries.

This is what Francis did, for example, in the concluding address of the synod of bishops, when he lashed out against “the closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases.” Not caring that he was contradicting himself, because one innovation that the pope wanted to introduce into the practice of the Church was the restoration of divorce, allowed by none other than Moses and instead prohibited by Jesus.

But now it’s Rabbi Laras’s turn.


Dear friends,

[. . .] I have read, together with my esteemed fellow rabbis and with Prof. David Meghnagi, cultural commissioner of the UCEI [Union of Italian Jewish Communities], the event guide for the ABI [Italian Biblical Association] conference scheduled for September 2017.

I am, and this is a euphemism, very indignant and embittered! [. . .]

Of course – independently of everything, including possible future apologies, rethinkings, and retractions – what emerges conspicuously are a few disquieting facts, which many of us have felt in the air for quite some time and about which there should be profound introspection on the Catholic side:

1. an undercurrent – with the text a bit more manifest now – of resentment, intolerance, and annoyance on the Christian side toward Judaism;

2. a substantial distrust of the Bible and a subsequent minimization of the Jewish biblical roots of Christianity;

3. a more or less latent “Marcionism” now presented in pseudo-scientific form, which today focuses insistently on ethics and politics;

4. the embracing of Islam, which is all the stronger as the Christian side is more critical toward Judaism, now including even the Bible and biblical theology;


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8 Responses to PopeWatch: Anti-Semitism

  • I suspect most Europeans with some tertiary schooling are anti-semites in a very contemporary way. They despise the state of Israel – not because of any acts of the government therein or properties of social life therein – but because Israel’s political class sides with it’s own population in making public policy and has no time for the talking cure in international relations or domestic security. There are anti-semites in loci like this. About 1/3 of them are ‘social justice’ types, 1/3 are old-school cuckoos babbling about the Rotshchilds, and 1/3 are palaeo types. One thing that bothers me about Traditionalist literature is that (The Latin Mass the exception) editors are willing to open their pages to these types.

  • This is deeply disturbing because I can feel the frustration and concern in Rabbi Laras’s response and it greatly saddens me. The specter of anti-semitism is ever at the door and, to many of the Jews I know well, the Pogroms, Holocaust, and the Edict of Expulsion are as yesterday. What I mean is that I am friends with Jews DESPITE what has been done by my culture to their ancestors so every fresh insult and offense is going to cut deeper than our learned Jesuit friends imagine.

    Academia is rotten and one of the elements that is rotting that tree is an overabundant need to “publish or die.” We research, write, and publish to justify position, not to enlighten or spur thought. One of the results is that disturbing that status quo is its own purpose. We see that Shakespeare’s work is “homoerotic,” “Jesus” is an amalgam and, so, neither human, nor divine, or, as here, reinterpreting Scripture to create a stir.

    Here, we are, regular, ordinary Christians who seek to live as Christians in a diverse world that includes Jews. By declaring the fundamental beliefs of Jews to be elitist and potentially extreme, the presentation gets notoriety at great cost to the faith.

    Now, we have to answer for this nonsense, assuring our friends and the general public that we are not anti-semites, despite our history and the reinforcing realities of the now.

    Nice going, guys!

  • Saint John Paul II called Jews “our older brothers” because, since Abraham, the Jews carry the Truth of the Triune God, the law of God and the Ten Commandments. “(T)he laws of Nature and Nature’s God” allow “their Creator” to be a jealous God, in Justice. Those who would deconstruct “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” and “their Creator” as Lord must aggregate together to eradicate the Truth. We are all Jews in Jesus and Jesus Christ’s Virgin Mother, our Mother and Mother of the Church. It is atheism.

  • These people have no grasp of the obvious. They uncharitably judge entire nations/groups of their brothers and sisters based on dishonest, counter-factual stereotypes. and outright falsities

    Anti-Semitism isn’t the only “anti” of which many on the left are guilty. Many misguided, mal-educated ideologues apparently are also anti-facts, anti-free-markets, anti-historical, anti-personal responsibility, anti-marriage/nuclear family, anti-unborn, anti-economic growth, anti-white, anti-American, etc.

  • I have read a fair amount of rad-Trad items around the ‘NET. Many of them remind me of a Sponge Bob Squarepants episode when Sponge Bob chases around jellyfish with a net without catching anything. The thing is that the Jews reject Christ as the Messiah and Savior. There is no getting around that.

  • “The thing is that the Jews reject Christ as the Messiah and Savior. There is no getting around that.”

    Who is trying to? They share that with the majority of mankind. That says nothing as to how they should be treated by those of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy the gift of the Faith.

  • I think one of the reasons we’re seeing a resurgence in anti-semitism on
    the left is that the Democrats are cozying-up to muslims, and anti-semitism is
    practically as much a Pillar of Islam as making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

    The recent “Women’s March” held in DC right after Trump’s inauguration was
    chaired by a Brooklyn-based Islamist named Linda Sarsour, recruited by the event’s
    organizers. Ms. Sarsour has ties with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and is
    an outspoken proponent of sharia law for the USA. She is deeply and outspokenly
    anti-semitic, and runs with that unsavory BDS crowd. And the left recruited her
    to be a chair of that march. She was chosen to be the face of feminism by today’s

    The recent “Day Without Women” organized by the left was also chaired by the
    odious Ms. Sarsour, in tandem with others such as Angela Davis and Rasmieh Odeh–
    muslims all, and each more anti-semitic than the next. Interestingly, Ms. Sarsour
    recently made the news when she publicly stated that “Jews cannot be feminists”.

    And of course, the DNC’s recent selection of a new party Chair saw Rep Keith
    Ellison come close to securing the position, landing endorsements from Bernie
    Sanders, Rep. John Lewis, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Sen. Elizabeth
    Warren, and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Ellison has a long history of anti-semitic
    statements and well-documented associations with Nation Of Islam and the Muslim
    Brotherhood– both groups being deeply, proudly anti-semitic. And yet this man
    just came within an ace of being elected chair of the Democrats’ party. Such is
    the willingness of the left to overlook (or not-so-secretly accept and normalize)
    hatred of Jews and of Israel.

  • Robert Redeker has suggested that, post Cold War, the French left has replaced “sovietophilia” with “islamophilia,” and that “Palestinians and the contemporary Muslim masses replace the proletariat in the intellectuals’ imagination” as the pure, ideal alternative to Western capitalism. (Le Monde, 11/21/01).

    Similarly ,in an essay on anti-Semitism, Au Nom de l’Autre: Réfléxions sur l’antisémitisme qui vient (In the Name of the Other: Reflections on the Coming Anti-Semitism), Alain Finkielkraut took aim at the left, explaining that anti-Jewish hatred of today comes not from those nostalgic for Pétain and Vichy but rather the activists of the anti-globalization and anti-racism movements. He explains that European unity is constructed around a series of ‘never agains.’ No more war, nor power, nor empire, nor nationalism. Progressive Europe has disavowed its embarrassing past. This makes it ill at ease with a state, Israel that clings to its borders just as Europe renounces its own, that nurtures its army just as Europe demilitarizes, and that must combat implacable enemies just as Europe denies such things exist.

    in La Nouvelle Judéophobie, Pierre-Andre Taguieff points to a myth current among many young people, Christians, third-worldists” and anti-globalization activists. The myth “is constructed on the demonized figure of ‘Jews-Israelis-Zionists’ supported by the ‘Americans’ and in opposition to that, no less mythical, of the Palestinian Arab ‘innocent victims.’“ On one side, Taguieff continues, stands the “cosmopolitan Satan,” the unholy trinity ‘United States/Israel/The West.’ On the other side stands the “dominated and the oppressed.” Thus the new judeophobia recycles old stereotypes such as the rich Jew and the dominating Jew under the “varnish of progressivism.” The Jew is once more the stand-in for capitalism, imperialism, cosmopolitanism, indeed the whole economic order

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March 16, 1926: Robert Goddard Launches First Liquid Fueled Rocket

Thursday, March 16, AD 2017


How many more years I shall be able to work on the problem, I do not know; I hope, as long as I live. There can be no thought of finishing, for “aiming at the stars”, both literally and figuratively, is a problem to occupy generations, so that no matter how much progress one makes, there is always the thrill of just beginning.

Robert Goddard to H.G. Wells, 1932


A very humble beginning to the Space Age 91 years ago, courtesy of Doctor Robert Goddard:



March 17, 1926. The first flight with a rocket using liquid propellants was made yesterday at Aunt Effie’s farm in Auburn…. Even though the release was pulled, the rocket did not rise at first, but the flame came out, and there was a steady roar. After a number of seconds it rose, slowly until it cleared the frame, and then at express train speed, curving over to the left, and striking the ice and snow, still going at a rapid rate.

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PopeWatch: First Sight

Wednesday, March 15, AD 2017


An interesting observation by Steve Skojec in regard to his first viewing Pope Francis:



On March 13, 2013, I sat in my office and watched my screen as a new pope — a man whom I had never seen before that moment — walked out onto the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica. I had never heard of him. I did not even know his name. Like most Catholics, I had approached the papal conclave with a sense of hopeful anticipation. But the feeling that came over me when I saw the man the cardinals had elected was shockingly forceful. It was a feeling of icy cold dread. As I looked at him, standing there, staring out at the crowd, I heard seven words distinctly in my mind, unbidden: “This man is no friend of Tradition.”

It was a strange sentence. Oddly phrased. I knew, just as surely as one knows that the voice of someone speaking to them in a quiet room is not their own, that this was not my thought, but some sort of external prompting. It would have been impossible for me to even attempt such an assessment, since I knew literally nothing about the man, this Argentinian cardinal, Jorge Bergoglio.

I am admittedly oblivious to the minutiae of ecclesiastical dress or custom. I cannot, therefore, claim that my feeling was rooted in the observance of some obvious deviation from the protocols of a papal election. I did not notice, for example, that he chose not to wear the papal mozetta. I was not jarred by his unusual greeting of the crowd with a “good evening,” instead of something more spiritually profound. I can’t say I recall hearing, in those first moments, that he was a Jesuit. To be honest, I may very well not have noticed these things even under normal circumstances, but these were not normal circumstances. My impression of the man was something that took place on a visceral level. And the feeling was so strong, it distracted me from everything else.

There was something in his face. In the way he stared down at the gathered crowd. There was something…wrong about his eyes. What I saw — what I thought I saw — was something other, looking out through that unreadable mask. Something triumphant, haughty, contemptuous, leering out at long last from atop the pinnacle of a long and hard-fought battle. It was incredibly strange.


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10 Responses to PopeWatch: First Sight

  • Can’t say I had that premonition, but I went to a CCD seminar later and there were many persons saying Pope Francis this and Pope Francis that, a man selling a young person’s magazine with Pope Francis on the cover. I thought to myself “no, Jesus, is our savior”. Glancing around I realized something was indeed wrong.

  • I still feel uneasy when I see his photo as I enter the vestibule or on a magazine somewhere.

  • I still feel uneasy when I see his photo as I enter the vestibule or on a magazine somewhere.

    The clergy at the novus ordinary parish I’ve been attending have quit mentioning him. The photo in the hallway is the only acknowledgement of him.

  • While not as strong as Steve’s, I felt a sense of unease. Something was off.

    The last four years have confirmed that first impression, and then some.

  • If you haven’t read Eponymous Flower’s Mar 10th post, “Why Can’t He Just Knell?”, I recommend it:

    It is originally from the German site, FYI. Especially, the comments and their citations are very good: the present Pope is alleged to have “sciatica” and unable to kneel: but there are many occasions (such as washing of the [Muslim women’s and other’s] feet on Holy Thursday) when, if he wished to make a point, he has knelt and knelt at length. Why is this? Why this clear obstinate refusal to kneel, especially when he wishes to make a bold statement?

    Now, couple that with EF’s comment on “The Invisible Last Supper under Pope Francis” (3/5/17). The Lateran Basilica is the ancient seat of the Pope going back to (at least the site) of Constantine and the year 313AD when a synod was held against the Donatist heresy. EF makes the point that the Lateran Basilica celebration of the Mass In Coena Domini was historically always open to the public and maintained the ancient tradition going back via the popes to Peter and the Apostles celebrating the Mass with Our Lord in the Upper Room.

    So where has Pope Frank celebrated the Last Supper these years of his pontificate?
    2013: Visit to the Youth Prison
    2014: visit to a disabled facility
    2015: visit to prison
    2016: visit to refugee home
    2017 😕
    (source: EF: )

    Like Skojec (and I have read and pondered his comments before), there is something unsettling about this pontiff’s opposition to giving absolute honor to Christ in the Sacrament, and to respecting the ancient Petrine tradition, without which he would just be another babbling Argentine socialist.

  • Jorge Bergoglio had no business being elected Pope and he had no business ever being a Cardinal. Like so many Latin American prelates, his diocese has suffered a lack of vocations. Rorate had to shut down its combox which was melting down over his election.

    For someone who spends too much time castigating capitalism, he sure is friendly with the German bishops, who live fat and happy…at least Marx and Kasper do.

  • Not all of us have Steve’s gift of premonition. My immediate reaction was to find out more about Pope Francis. And the more I found out the more I was concerned. Note at that time I was not into the Catholic blogosphere in any way. Basically, it was Pope Francis that got me interested in learning more about Traditional Catholicism. Anyway, the blog sites such as American Catholic were most helpful in sorting out Pope Francis as a proponent of Modernism.

    By the way, for a stinging premonition of Pope Francis papacy try Ann Barnhardt:

  • @Steve Phoenix

    Holy Thursday night and the Pope?

    My guess….He will be washing the feet of these criminals from his beloved Argentina;

    A hometown boy in the Vatican…
    ….a bloody mess indeed.

    Jesus Christ alive in the Blessed Sacrament will not be mocked forever.
    Even if the mocking comes from the so-called leader of the Holy Church.

  • My first impression of Pope Francis is that this Pope cannot be serious, that Pope Francis is a joke. Stan Laurel comes to mind. Pope Francis even looks like Stan Laurel with a silly smirk on his face. However, Pope Francis’ aggression against tradition is simply his abdication of his office.

  • I was disconcerted a bit and felt let down when, as Pope Francis made his first appearance he said a rather banal, “Good evening”.

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Ides of March: Cato the Younger

Wednesday, March 15, AD 2017

And, in general, Cato thought he ought to take a course directly opposed to the life and practices of the time, feeling that these were bad and in need of great change.

Plutarch, Life of Cato the Younger




I think it would have amused the Romans of Caesar’s generation if they could have learned that the assassination of Julius Caesar would eventually receive immortality through a play written more than 16 centuries after the event by a barbarian playwright in the Tin Islands that Caesar had briefly invaded.  It would have tickled their well developed concept of the ludicrous, judging from Roman comedy.

Caesar was assassinated because he had established himself as absolute ruler of Rome as Marius and Sulla had done before him.  Once again the Senate was to be reduced to a rubber stamp.  However, unlike the brief periods of one man rule engaged in by Marius and Sulla, Caesar, a much abler man, was clearly aiming to turn Rome into a monarchy to be ruled by him alone, and his successors after him.  The Republic, dying for the last half century, was now dead and Caesar was the undertaker.  However, some Romans refused to accept this fact.  Foremost among them was Cato the Younger.  A living anachronism, Cato longed for the Republic that his ancestor Cato the Elder had lived in a century and a half before, and stood against those who sought to hurry on the death of the Republic.  Fate has allowed only one speech of Cato to survive, his powerful brief oration that convinced the Senators to impose the death penalty on the Cataline conspirators.  In this speech we see Cato’s love of the Republic and his clear eyed awareness that it was unlikely to survive the corrupt generation among whom he lived.  Cato understood that the Republic was a lost cause, but he viewed this lost cause as worth fighting for and dying for.  Here is the text of his speech:

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7 Responses to Ides of March: Cato the Younger

  • Lord Acton describes the fall of the Republic and the Augustan Principate very well: “The Roman republic laboured to crush the subjugated nations into a homogeneous and obedient mass; but the increase which the proconsular authority obtained in the process subverted the republican government, and the reaction of the provinces against Rome assisted in establishing the empire. The Cæsarean system gave an unprecedented freedom to the dependencies, and raised them to a civil equality which put an end to the dominion of race over race and of class over class. The monarchy was hailed as a refuge from the pride and cupidity of the Roman people; and the love of equality, the hatred of nobility, and the tolerance of despotism implanted by Rome became, at least in Gaul, the chief feature of the national character.”

  • The American Republic also has died. Can anyone assign a date for the head stone? The slow death spiral likely began the day the Constitution was ratified and accelerated.

    Interestingly, I was reading (for banking and economic history) an old (before the reds seized public education) AP high school American History textbook. The book stated that under the (failed) Articles of Confederation Congress with the Northwest Ordinance of1 787 had solved the problem of empire (which had bedeviled the UK in the 1760’s and 1770’s) by establishing the mechanisms to admit territories into the United States as permanent equals to the original states.

  • “The slow death spiral likely began the day the Constitution was ratified and accelerated.”

    You make Cato the Younger T. Shaw seem like an incorrigible optimist.

    The Brits would hit upon the solution of self-governing Dominions in the 19th Century. The problem for the Brits is that the technology did not exist to have a unified global country in the great days of the British Empire. Of course with the rise of nationalism in the 19th century such a state was rendered impossible. Divergent interests of course would still have been a problem even without lack of technology or nationalism. Australia always has to keep a close eye on China and Japan while such Asian concerns, in the absence of British control of India, Hong Kong, Burma, Malaya and Singapore, are not even of tertiary concern to the Brits.

  • “Unprecedented freedom” made me think, MPS about the seeds of Jewish thought planted in the previous few
    hundred years by dispersion and captivity through esp the thoughts of the prophet Daniel the Maccabees – hey – even Jonah and Esther 😊
    You Daniel may have influenced Cyrus and the Maccabees certainly sent emissaries to Rome on behalf of religious freedom

  • I am an optimist. At my age, I’m elated every morning I wake up and most everything still works. Hope is one of the Cardinal Virtues. My true home is not the here-and-now. I simply ignore illegal executive orders, unconstitutional laws, unjust regulations, and liberty-denying court diktats. For example, for me LGTB means Liberty, Gold/Guns, Trump, and Booze. If I were not an optimist, why would I buy Lottery tickets.

    Another “victory” for the (failed) Articles of Confederation was the bond of union it created when the landed (about half of the states owned parts of the Northwest Territories) states ceded to the national government the Northwest Terr., and non-landed (about equal in number) were provided equal benefits from future sales of the lands (to pay the Revolutionary War debts). The states would need to stay with the Union in order to reap their shares of the benefits from land sales.

  • Anzlyne wrote, “[T]he Maccabees certainly sent emissaries to Rome on behalf of religious freedom”

    The Romans understood the power of religion; “Separatim nemo habessit deos neve novos neve advenas nisi publice adscitos” – Let no one have gods by himself, neither new nor introduced, unless publicly acknowledged, says the Law of the XII Tables of 500 BC. However, virtually all beliefs were tolerated; as Gibbon says, “The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.” What the authorities viewed with deep suspicion was any kind of sect, demanding the obedience of its members.

    We have a bronze tablet containing the Sc de Bacchanalibus, of 186 BC, suppressing the Bacchanalian cult and it is very revealing. “No one shall appoint either man or woman to be master or to act as master; no one, either man or woman, is to be an officer (to manage the temporal affairs of the organization); nor is anyone of them to have charge of a common treasury; they shall not form conspiracies among themselves… make mutual promises or agreements, or interchange pledges.” Drunken orgies in honour of a god were no problem; being part of an organization exercising authority over its members was to be “rem capvtalem faciendam censvere” – adjudged a capital offence.

    This fear only intensified under the Empire. After the great fire in Nicomedia, the Emperor Hadrian would not allow his friend Pliny to form a volunteer fire brigade; he feared it might become a political club. Christians were persecuted, not for their beliefs, but for their membership of a “collegium illicitum,” an illicit corporation, by authorities who condemned, as a state within the state, every inner group or community, class or corporation, exercising authority over its members.. “Non-denominational Christians,” had they existed (they didn’t), the Romans would have viewed with unconcern.

  • T. Shaw
    “The American Republic also has died. Can anyone assign a date for the head stone? The slow death spiral likely began the day the Constitution was ratified and accelerated.”
    The American Republic lives in our Founding Principles: THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE and our CONSTITUTION. Respect for the sovereign person. Jesus Christ is a sovereign person who has been maligned and evicted from the public square. This will change.

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Friar Moustache

Tuesday, March 14, AD 2017

I assume that Saint Francis is giving this a big thumbs up from Heaven:

St. Francis Monastery in Cochabamba, Bolivia is named after the patron saint of dogs, so it makes sense that one of their newest members happens to be a stray dog they’ve rescued off of the streets. Named Friar Bigotón, which adorably translates to Friar Moustache, this lucky pup has his own habit and monk duties, and is given free roam of the monastery.

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4 Responses to Friar Moustache

  • I thought he was a discalced Carmelite at first glance…

  • One error has crept into this reporting–St. Francis is the patron saint of animals. Dogs have two patrons all their own–Saint Hubert and Saint Roch. It is not (entirely) that I am a pedant, but I have two dogs at home and we make sure to celebrate their patronal feasts.

  • Andrew is correct,and as a dog owner I’ve had occasion to ask for the intercession of St. Hubert. And…if you’ve enjoyed a bit of Jagermeister in the misspent youth; there is a nice connection.

  • Named my crazy dingo Hubert in honor of the great saint….Rocky has always been a popular name for dogs, from St. Roch presumably!

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Let the Kilted Socialists Go

Tuesday, March 14, AD 2017



The Scottish First Minister is calling for another vote on Independence, because Brexit.  Why it seems only three years ago, because it was, that the cause of Independence was rejected by the Scottish voters.  The Scots dodged a bullet that time.  This time I hope the English dodge a bullet, and the Scots march off playing Scotland the Brave.  As in 2014, here are my reasons for supporting Scottish independence:

Well, the Scottish independence referendum is up for a vote on September 18.  I suspect that if the referendum supports independence that such a move will be an economic disaster for Scotland, combined with a socialist government whose economic forecasts seem to owe just as much to Groucho, Harpo and Chico as they do Karl.  Having said that I am all in favor of Scottish independence.  Why?

Depriving Labour of 63 Scottish MPs would probably ensure Tory government in England for the foreseeable future and that would be good for the US both in foreign policy and trade.

Socialists are completely dominant in Scotland and probably will be until they have total power to cause the type of disasters that socialists routinely bring about when they govern unchecked.

Scotland has bred since World War II generations who believe that a socialist utopia can exist in Scotland if it were not for malevolent forces south of the border preventing the building of paradise.  They view Mel Gibson’s Braveheart flick as a documentary. Time to put this myth to a test.  Vote Yes for Scottish independence if you have the misfortune to currently reside in the land of some of my ancestors.

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7 Responses to Let the Kilted Socialists Go

  • Almost exactly the same reasoning supports the desire of California to secede, and, like the Scots, I hope they do it.

  • The Scottish National Party is better described as ‘Peronist’ rather than socialist. Scotland’s total population, output, and key city are of dimensions adequate to the formation of a fully sovereign nation-state. Separating from the UK would likely have some frictional costs. Economic trouble would derive from bad policy, not from separation per se.

    Particularist sentiment one can understand. The Scots Natoinalist variant bellyaches about Westminster but is avid about Brussels, so it has the property of being completely unserious. If my own exchanges with Scots Nationalists are representative of the breed, the whole mess is derived from a mixture of vanity and spite. The rest of the UK may at this juncture be pleased to be free of Scotland in order to substantially reduce the population of jerks in the kingdom.

  • .
    “Depriving Labour of 63 Scottish MPs”

    The SNP managed that quite well on its own. After the 2015 general election, when the number of Scottish seats had been reduced to 59, the results, on the first past the post system were

    Conservative & Unionist 1
    Labour 1
    Liberal Democrats 1
    SNP 56

    At the 2016 elections for the Scottish Parliament, on a system of proportional representation, the results were

    Conservative & Unionist 31
    Labour 24
    Liberal Democrats 5
    Scottish Greens 6
    SNP 63

    making the Conservative & Unionist party the 2nd largest party at Holyrood.

  • I view Scottish Labour and the SNP as virtually indistinguishable except on the key issue of Scottish Independence. If SNP seats would make the difference after a general election I think they would form a coalition government with Labour. I make no prediction as to how stable or long lived such a coalition would prove.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “I view Scottish Labour and the SNP as virtually indistinguishable…”
    Oh! Please.
    The cloth cap and the working class
    As images are dated.
    Now that Labour’s gone avant-garde
    Is highly educated
    By tax adjustments, they have planned
    To institute the promised land.
    And just show that they’re still sincere,
    We sing the Red Flag once a year.
    Firm principles and policies
    Are open to objections,
    And a streamlined party image is
    The way to win elections.
    So raise the neat umbrellas high,
    The mobile phone and college tie.
    We stand united, raise a cheer
    And sing the Red Flag once a year.

  • Labour and SNP MPS seem to be in a competition to which can be more socialist than thou for the besotted Scottish electorate. To the extent that some of their party hacks do not believe the economic rubbish they preach, I applaud them for their sanity and condemn them for their mendacity.

  • We stand united, raise a cheer
    And sing the Red Flag once a year.

    The party membership stuck Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership chair. In more than 30 years in the House of Commons, no Labour Party leader has seen fit to entrust him with any responsibility at all. His occupation prior to entering politics was a slot on the staff of some trade union (which did not include anything challenging like handling member grievances). He’s also a slacker. Since 1935, British Labour leaders have generally not grown up in the wage-earner stratum (Neil Kinnock and James Callaghan the exceptions), but Corbyn is nearly unique for having an haut bourgeois upbrininging, a pair of brothers who are extensively educated, and no tertiary schooling himself (due to wretched examination results in late adolescence). He’s also an anti-semite of the contemporary sort. So, having unexpectedly lost an election, the Labour membership’s brilliant idea is to put their party under the direction of a red haze lunkhead who has never in his life had work with robust operational measures of competence.

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PopeWatch: Marie Collins

Tuesday, March 14, AD 2017


Sandro Magister brings up the resignation of Marie Collins from the pontifical commission of the protection of minors and an example of why she resigned:


But there is one point that has essentially met with silence. And it is the criticism that Marie Collins has leveled against Pope Francis himself.

The most pointed criticism dates back to two years ago.

When on January 10, 2015 Francis promoted to the diocese of Osorno, Chile the bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid, Collins and other members of the commission protested strenuously.

The new bishop, in fact, was under substantiated accusations from three victims of sexual abuse, who charged him with having shielded the priest Fernando Karadima, for many years a celebrity of the Chilean Church but in the end condemned to “prayer and penance” by the Holy See for his countless verified misdeeds.

The new bishop’s installation in his diocese was heavily contested. But on March 31 the Vatican congregation for bishops stated that it had “attentively studied the prelate’s candidacy and had not found objective reasons that would block his appointment.”

So in April, Collins and other members of the commission for the protection of minors went to Rome to ask the president of the commission, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley (in the photo), to urge the pope to revoke the appointment.

But they got the opposite result. One month later, in May, Pope Francis responded to questions from a former spokesman of the Chilean episcopal conference he met in Saint Peter’s Square. And he went after the bishop’s accusers, in his most indignant words ever.

The video of the encounter was made public afterward. And these are the pope’s actual words:

“It is a Church [that of Osorno] that has lost its freedom because it has let its head be filled up by the politicians, judging a bishop without any proof after twenty years of service. So think with your heads, and don’t let yourselves be led by the nose by all those leftists who are the ones who drummed up the business.

“Furthermore, the only accusation that there has been against this bishop has been discredited by the judicial court. So please, eh? Don’t lose your serenity. Yes, [the diocese of] Osorno is suffering, because it is stupid, because it is not opening its heart to what God is saying and is letting itself get carried away by the stupidities that all those people are saying. I am the first to judge and punish those who have been accused of such things. . . But in this case there is a lack of proof, or rather, on the contrary. . . I say it from the heart. Don’t let yourselves be led by the nose by these people who are seeking only to make ‘lío,’ confusion, who seek to calumniate. . . .”

The “leftists” – “zurdos” in Argentine slang – who had particularly irritated the pope included the 51 Chilean deputies, for the most part of the socialist party of president Michelle Bachelet, who had signed a petition against the appointment of Barros as bishop of Osorno.

So then, when the video with Francis’s words were made public, Marie Collins said she was “discouraged and saddened when you see the claims of Karadima’s courageous victims categorized in this way” by the pope.

That of the bishop of Osorno is not the only case in which Jorge Mario Bergoglio has commandeered judgment for himself, nullifying or sidestepping canonical procedures.

In Italy there has been an uproar over the act of “mercy” with which he has graced Fr. Mauro Inzoli, a prominent priest of the movement Communion and Liberation, reduced to the lay state in 2012 by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith for having abused numerous young people, but restored to the active priesthood by Francis in 2014, with the admonishment that he lead a life of penance and prayer. In the civil arena, Inzoli has been sentenced to 4 years and 9 months in prison.

Marie Collins also protested against such indulgences: “While mercy is important, justice for all parties is equally important. If there is seen to be any weakness about proper penalties, then it might well send the wrong message to those who would abuse.”


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9 Responses to PopeWatch: Marie Collins

  • “Mercy without justice is always injustice.”

    And it is unmerciful to grease the skids to hell for the perpetrator of the wrong-doing by exonerating him in the public eye.

    “So think with your heads, and don’t let yourselves be led by the nose by all those leftists who are the ones who drummed up the business.”

    That’s rich, coming as it does from the commie crucifix wearing Argentinian Marxist Peronist Pontiff himself who endorses every left wing fling there is.

  • Pope Francis has shown considerable indulgence towards abusers and those who shield
    them– I’m surprised that the article didn’t also mention Cardinal Daneels. Cardinal Daneels,
    despite being retired as Archbishop of Brussels, was personally appointed by Francis to attend
    the Synod on the Family and helped shape the results. Back in 2010, Cardinal Daneels had
    urged the nephew of the Bishop of Bruges not to go to the police with accusations that
    his uncle had been molesting him for 13 years, citing the bishop’s upcoming retirement as
    a reason. The nephew had been recording the conversation and went to the police despite
    the Cardinal’s advice not to “make a lot of noise”. Ultimately, the Bishop of Bruges admitted
    to the abuse. Later that year, the Church in Belgium released a report on 488 cases of sexual
    abuse in the Church in Belgium occurring between 1950 and 1990. In 50 cases, the Cardinal’s
    name was linked– not as an abuser, but as someone who knew of the abuse by the clergy.

    In 1990, Cardinal Daneels had also advised King Baudouin to sign into law Belgium’s liberal
    abortion legislation. The Catholic King balked, and in the end his government declared His
    Majesty temporarily “incapacitated” so the legislation could be enacted without royal assent.

    It is astonishing that Pope Francis brought this man out of retirement to help shape the
    results of the Synod on the Family. Evidently, Cardinal Daneels spends a great deal of time
    in Rome, having the ear of this Pope. For all his protestations about his “zero tolerance”
    for molesters and those who’d cover for them, Francis seems willing to look the other way
    if a man has the correct ideology and can make himself useful… Marie Collins was right
    to resign from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors– it’s become a bit of
    a joke.

  • Ultimately, the Bishop of Bruges admitted
    to the abuse. Later that year, the Church in Belgium released a report on 488 cases of sexual
    abuse in the Church in Belgium occurring between 1950 and 1990. In 50 cases, the Cardinal’s

    If they had 50 cases where the chancery in question had been informed of anything in real time, I’d be quite surprised, much less the Primate. Cdl. Danneels was an academic and held no episcopal position until 1977.

  • I’d also point out there’s a difference between something ‘occurring’ and a complaint that something occurred.

  • Art Deco, it was a commission set up by the Church in Belgium which
    came up with the report and the statistics I quoted– I believe the report was
    made from the same records seized in a police raid on the Cardinal’s residence
    after the story broke over the Bishop of Bruges’ abuse of his nephew.

    Cardinal Daneels was Archbishop of Brussels almost 30 years. The 50 cases
    I referred to are those out of 488 that had been brought to the attention
    of the chancery and had received the attention of the Cardinal. Several involved
    that same Bishop of Bruges, by the way, with other minors. The news reports
    I’ve read suggest that those accusations of abuse were all withheld from the
    police–certainly the Bishop of Bruges remained in his position despite several
    complaints to the chancery until his nephew went to the police and the press
    with his story.

    Did His Eminence learn of these cases of abuse “in real time”? Certainly the
    accusations involving the Bishop of Bruges came to his attention while the man
    was still a bishop. De Standaard reported that 2 Belgian priests, Frs. Rik
    Deville and Norbert Bethune had personally informed Cardinal Daneels about
    accusations against Bishop Vangheluwe several times over a 10-year period.
    Fr. Deville told the AP that he’d told Cardinal Daneels about several cases of
    sexual abuse, and the response was “(t)he cardinal sometimes got angry and
    said it wasn’t my job, that I should not get involved”. So yes, it appears that
    Cardinal Daneels received credible information about sexual abuse of minors
    “in real time” and failed to either act or to involve the police, and the records
    seized by the police bear out that conclusion.

  • Bad Pope being bad.

  • “[C]ommandeered judgment for himself, nullifying or sidestepping canonical procedures….”

    An odd way of putting it, given that Pastor Æernus teaches, “And since, by the Divine right of Apostolic primacy, the Roman Pontiff is placed over the Universal Church, We further teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all causes, the decision of which belongs to the Church, recourse may be had to his tribunal, and that none may re-open the judgment of the Apostolic See, for none has greater authority, nor can anyone lawfully review its judgment.”

    Moreover, all the old canonists agree that the pope may proceed “summarie et de plano, sine forma et strepitu juris.” – Summarily and without argument, without the forms and measures of law.”

  • Cardinal Daneels was Archbishop of Brussels almost 30 years. The 50 cases
    I referred to are those out of 488 that had been brought to the attention
    of the chancery and had received the attention of the Cardinal. Several involved
    that same Bishop of Bruges, by the way, with other minors. The news reports
    I’ve read suggest that those accusations of abuse were all withheld from the
    police–certainly the Bishop of Bruges remained in his position despite several
    complaints to the chancery until his nephew went to the police and the press
    with his story.

    Did His Eminence learn of these cases of abuse “in real time”?

    If the dioceses from which the accusations originated are ordinary, the Cardinal was typically reviewing a report of an incident which occurred perhaps 15 years earlier. The Cardinal may have been a perfectly awful assessor and adjudicator. The trouble is, even had he been conscientious, he’d still have a high error rate.

  • Re law enforcement, was the accusation against the priest in question justiciable? We had a case in the Diocese of Syracuse where a monseigneur who had been in Bp O’Keefe’s camarilla had a mess of accusations against him. The thing is, he’d retired in 1989 with no accusations against him. He was accused by one young man in 1998, an incident to which he confessed. He received 4 additional accusations in 2002 which he denied. One concerned incidents in 1962-63 and one an incident in 1949. So, should Bp. Moynihan have told the police?

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Quotes Suitable for Framing: Philander Knox

Tuesday, March 14, AD 2017

“I think, it would be better to keep your action free from any taint of legality.”

Attorney General Philander Knox’ response when President Theodore Roosevelt asked him to craft a legal defense for American actions which led to the independence of Panama and the treaty between Panama and the United States for the construction of the Panama Canal.  Hurrah for Theodore Roosevelt, the father of Panamanian independence and the Panama Canal!

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Requiescat in Pace: Loyce Edward Deen

Monday, March 13, AD 2017

When you go home, tell them of us and say
For their tomorrow, we gave our today.
Inscription on the Memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Division at Kohima

Hattip to Ace of Spades.  As we go about our daily lives it is good to remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants.  One of those giants is a 23 year old sailor who died 73 years ago:

Loyce Edward Deen, an Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class, USNR, was a gunner on a TBM Avenger. On November 5, 1944, Deen’s squadron participated in a raid on Manila, where his plane was hit multiple times by anti-aircraft fire while attacking a Japanese cruiser. Deen was killed.The Avenger’s pilot, Lt. Robert Cosgrove, managed to return to his carrier, the USS Essex. Both Deen and the plane had been shot up so badly that it was decided to leave him in the plane.

It is the only time in U.S. Navy history (and probably U.S. military history) that an aviator was buried in his aircraft after being killed in action.


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PopeWatch: Music

Monday, March 13, AD 2017


The Pope thinks some Church music is terrible:


Certainly the meeting with modernity and the introduction of vernacular languages into the Liturgy has raised many problems: of musical languages, forms and genres. At times, a certain mediocrity, superficiality and banality have prevailed to the detriment of the beauty and intensity of the liturgical celebrations. That is why the various actors in this field, musicians and composers, conductors and singers in scholae cantorum, and those involved in the liturgy, can make a valuable contribution to the renewal —especially in quality — of sacred music and liturgical chant. To facilitate this process, we need to promote proper musical formation, also for those who are preparing to become priests, in dialogue with the musical trends of our time, with organizations representing the different cultural spheres, and with an ecumenical attitude.

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15 Responses to PopeWatch: Music

  • “You will know them by what they do.” Everything a person does bears some of who he is. To impart holiness the author of music and writing must have holiness to impart holiness to others. Only this way can holiness be shared and spread about the world. Sacred music raises up the heart and mind to God. Sappy music drains the soul of holiness. There can be no ecumenism in sappy music, as all people search for Truth.

  • No kidding. The trouble is, your parish diva doesn’t, the parish council doesn’t, and the pastor doesn’t. I was told a tale about a music professor, a specialist in early music, who was hired to improve the music program at the local novus ordinary parish. He failed completely and quit in frustration after an interim period of time. It might just help if the pastor does not regard the music directrix as having a property right to her job a la the Bourbon civil service. In the case of that parish, she’d never recruited a choir much less trained one and played the piano one service a week with musical selections courtesy Oregon Catholic Press. About 85% of the selections were composed after 1965. No one sang, either.

    It’s not that difficult. Three women in the balcony, one man in the sanctuary, the former chant the ordinary, the latter the propers. You’ll never see it anywhere, of course.

  • Art, I was on our “Parish Worship Commission” (where my primary task was to say “no”) for nearly six years when I presented multiple Catholic Church documents which described what the Church thought was necessary and proper music and chant for Mass. We took a vote and surprise, surprise, the Church lost. I was stunned. It was all very Protestant. That was the last meeting I attended.

  • We are early risers. However, a main “attraction” of 7:30 AM Sunday Mass is there is no singing.

    “Holy God we praise thy Name . . . “

  • I understand Oregon Catholic Press sends suggestions regarding music for the Sunday Mass. Unimaginitive or unadventurous music directors seem to go along passively. Either too busy, too lazy, or whatever. Saw hymn boards at 2-3 churches that had the numbers still up from previous Sunday. there were 2-3 songs that were the same at different parishes. The worst thing about the music is since it is derived from folk and pop and other instantly learnable genres, it is also instantly dislikeable. Think about any pop tune you once liked and now hate because of overexposure. Catholic parishes have a playlist of perhaps 30 or so songs that you will find played in any parish on any weekend. Usually be Haugen, Haas, etc. etc.

  • They’re not too busy. The Anglican parish I grew up in had a youth choir and an adult choir with about 30 members total. The choirmistress managed at least two evenings a week. The hymnody I was not attached to, but it was head and shoulders above anything you hear in a contemporary Roman-rite parish, and the congregation actually sings.

    Keep in mind that Ukrainian parishes do a handsome job with a limited repertoire of traditional music (St. Josephat’s in Rochester had a set of stapled photocopies that the (all female) choir was thoroughly familiar with. A Roman-rite service based on plainchant (where only the propers varied) would be less time consuming then OCraP’s selections. They don’t do it because they just don’t feel like it.

    What gets me is that about a dozen years ago, the Diocese of Rochester did a survey of parishioners about their preferences in music. The results were as follows: 24% favored strictly traditional, 18% favored strictly modern, 29% favored a mix, and 29% did not care or did not like music. The Diocese of Syracuse is right adjacent. How often do you have services of each type? Well, you have strictly modern, a mix, and no music each about 1/3 of the time. The mix is typically 75% modern, 25% traditional. A strictly traditional service is rare, and to my knowledge found in the Diocese at that time only at indult masses and at St. Malachy’s in Sherburne, New York. Not more than 10% of the parishioners in the diocese live within 35 miles of St. Malachy’s. It’s nearly the most isolated parish therein.

  • Mary De Voe.

    True statement.
    “You can’t give what you don’t have.”
    If the music isn’t inspired to raise hearts heavenward or lead one into deeper realms of contemplating then leave it behind. The,…I….Me…..Us….Is the sixties and seventies schlock that took the focus off of heaven and God, and reflected a false praise of MAN.

    Man isn’t great! He’s a mess.

    The powerful hymn’s of our grandparents and their grandparents are inspiring because they focus on Christ, The Holy Spirit and Marion devotion. At That First Eucharist…Faith of our Fathers…Sing with All the Saints in Glory..And Marty Haugen’s, My soul in stillness waits ….Marty’s being a recent addition compared to the others.

    Is it a matter of taste?

    To a point, maybe. I only picked out a couple off the top of my head.
    The Latin Mass and the hymns that mingle with the incense is my favorite.
    Chant is mentioned by Pope Francis.
    I’m happy to see that.

  • The biggest thing that bothers me about the music is that it doesn’t worship God. it might or might not be good musically, but is not pastoral in the sense of ministering or giving an education about what we are about as we gather there. The songs are not pastoral and often not really liturgical at all- more of a campfire song, which can be humanly appealing but more about the
    we-ness of us and less about the majesty of God.
    We talk about “gathering us in” “companions on a journey breaking bread and drinking wine”, and going to “Make a Difference” because we are “many parts but we are all one body” Our songs are all about us!
    We should enter his courts with praise and thanksgiving ( psalm 104) Holy God We Praise Thy Name!
    Recently at mass we sang the melody of Pange Lingua- but the words were social justice.

  • I have not heard a really first-rate organist in a Catholic Church since the late ‘80s – That was Olivier Messiaen at the sainte-Trinité in Paris.
    Perhaps, Olivier Latry (a great improviser) qualifies, but he is primarily a teacher at the Conservatoire, who plays occasionally at Notre-Dame-de-Paris and there is Johann Vexo, who has recorded performances on many historical organs throughout France.

  • Most of the lyrics we hear these days seem to imply how lucky God is to have us to worship Him

  • I have not heard a really first-rate organist in a Catholic Church since the late ‘80s –

    Of the last three novus ordinary parishes I’ve attended, one had no organ and the organ in the other was never used. They had an upright piano on which the music directrix played greeting card text set to music.

  • Art Deco wrote, “They had an upright piano…”

    I don’t mind betting that Messiaen would have given a better performance on an upright piano than most parish organists could manage on the best pipe organ ever built.

    I once heard George Malcolm, play Bach’s Italian Concerto on a harpsichord, as an interlude before mass at St Mary’s, Cadogan Street in London. The church was crowded to the doors with students from the nearby Royal College of Music; the applause was deafening; it rose to a crescendo, died away a little and then rose and swelled again for a full five minutes (which is a very long time), mingled with cries of “bis” and “encore.”

    Malcom was a fine organist, too, and I recall him playing Bach’s “Sheep may safely graze” (or as he called it in conversation afterwards, “the Butcher’s Funeral) at Brompton Oratory at the wedding of a friend of mine. It was a Saturday and the wedding guests had to struggle through the crowd standing in the aisles, who had come to hear Malcolm play, in order to reach their reserved seats.

    There is no doubt people appreciate good music and will flock to hear it.

  • There is no doubt people appreciate good music and will flock to hear it.

    That’s nice, but I’m not interested in the Mass as a setting for fine chamber music or organ recitals. If the music is ‘good’, that’s gravy. Music that’s congruent with the service and not left over scores from Hallmark Channel productions would be acceptable. Plainchant, please.

  • Art Deco wrote, “Music that’s congruent with the service…”
    And every age, except our own has produced it; to take only the Requiem, listen to Mozart’s or Cherubini’s, that Beethoven wanted for his own funeral. These were followed by Berlioz, Fauré and Verdi. We even have Saint-Saëns, not a believer, but who, in his own words, knew “how to respect what is respectable,” and produced a truly touching Missa pro Defunctis.

  • And every age, except our own has produced it;

    They’re not producing anything new, and that’s regrettable. You still have an enormous body of music from which to chose, dating back at least to the 10th century.

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Literacy Is So Overated

Sunday, March 12, AD 2017



Further evidence, if any were needed, that public education in the country has often devolved into a jobs program for incompetents and has nothing to do with education:



Efforts to introduce standardized testing and the monitoring of performance metrics for teachers in New York have been opposed by the teachers unions ever since they were first introduced decades ago. It’s an ongoing battle which has been mirrored across the nation. Still, some measures have been put in place which were intended to at least ascertain basic levels of proficiency for people seeking teaching positions. One of these is known as the Academic Skills Literacy Test (ASLT). It’s basically a reading comprehension test administered to those who would eventually be giving similar tests to students.

Sounds almost like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? You might think so, but this month it looks like the Empire State will be scrapping the examination because not enough people were passing it and the failure rates were deemed to be too heavily skewed along racial lines. (Associated Press)

New York education officials are poised to scrap a test designed to measure the reading and writing skills of people trying to become teachers, in part because an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing it.

The state Board of Regents on Monday is expected Monday to adopt a task force’s recommendation of eliminating the literacy exam, known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test.

Backers of the test say eliminating it could put weak teachers in classrooms. Critics of the examination said it is redundant and a poor predictor of who will succeed as a teacher.

This is not something which just cropped up. A group representing many of these aspiring teachers brought lawsuits in 2015 claiming that both the ASLT and a second exam focusing on liberal arts and sciences were somehow racist in nature. The group was seeking more than $300 million in damages but a federal court eventually dismissed the case. Despite the fact that the courts gave the testing program a thumbs up, it seems that the testing regimen will be scrapped anyway.

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4 Responses to Literacy Is So Overated

  • A hundred years ago, a person could teach in high school without a collage degree. Elementary teachers often did not have a high school diploma. The schools have only grudgingly allowed higher qualifications because of cost. But it is teachers who have fought there application of rigorous standards, because only the academically less gifted who are drawn to the field because of the limited opportunity of advancement. Higher salaries are given for higher degrees, but because of the lack of rigor, these have been small.

  • I love her explanation of working the full 52 weeks v. 39 weeks as to her pay differences than her contemporaries. Those extra 13 weeks, about $52 k at almost $4,000 per week, is interesting.

    The highest paid teacher in her district earns $150,000 a school year. (?)

    How can a teacher get by with those wages? Union up Chicago! $150 k….. Isn’t that way below poverty level.
    After all, it’s the Chicago way baby.

  • That woman is not representative of teachers.

    it may be true that some weak students become teachers, but there are an amazing number of gifted people of become teachers for very admirable reasons.

  • …and then spend the next several years fighting to be allowed to TEACH, not do paperwork and not indoctrinate.

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4 Responses to Yeah, About That Fake News

  • “I ain’t buying it.”
    My favorite line from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy:
    Rocket: Attention, idiots! The lunatic on the top of this craft is holding a Hadron Enforcer, a weapon of my own design.
    Yondu: What the hell?
    Rocket: If you don’t hand over our companions now, he’s gonna tear your ship a new one. A very big new one.
    Yondu: I ain’t buyin’ it.

  • An interesting CNN anomaly is the “link or feed,” suddenly goes down when an interviewer is speaking of Jesus on said network. I came across this phenomenon a while back while visiting you tube.
    It also happens on occasion when a conservative view is becoming difficult for the reporter on CNN and MSNBC to debate.

    There are many to choose from.

    Here’s a couple;

    The last one is compelling.
    NFL player Benjamin Watson speaks of Jesus Christ and forgiveness of sin and CNN can’t stomach it.

    Are some of these drops legitimate?
    Could be.

    CNN is not a bonafide news network.
    Not at all.
    It’s a propaganda machine plain and simple.

  • Info please. I am working on artlcle to submit to K.C. magazine, The Columbian. It began Medal of Honor Catholic Priests. I am expanding it to Catholic religious in US military. Any help, even list of names would be great help.

  • Hi Scotth, Suggest you contact the Military Archdiocese at No priest can serve in the US military without first being credentialed by this military ordinariate. Since you have researched MOH Catholic Priests you have info on Fr. Vincent Capodanno, now titled Servant of God since his canonization cause has been opened. The late CAPT Jake Laboon, USN CHC was USNA ’44 and was awarded the Silver Star for diving off his subarmarine to rescue a downed aviator in WWII. LCDR William Dorwart, USNR, CHC served on a carrier as an Aviation Ordnanceman before graduating from college and joining the Congregation of Holy Cross. He was the NAS Cubi Pt, PI chaplain in 1987 and was last seen conducting a burial at Arlington National Cemetery as a Naval District Washington chaplain. The Diocese of Arlington VA currently has two young priests preparing to become navy chaplains. Also in the diocese is Fr. Michael Duesterhaus, a naval reservist, who was on active duty in Djibouti and with the marines in Iraq. His lecture about those two assignments was excellent. IMHO military chaplains are a cut above, a special breed whether army, navy or air force. One day while on an army post I saw a nun in a traditional habit it turned out that she was a hospital sister in Washington DC and an army reservist surgeon. She had been on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan while a nun. I would have liked to learn more details but we ran out of time.

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Saints of Lent: Cardinal John Fisher

Sunday, March 12, AD 2017


Where are now the kings and princes that once reigned over all the world, whose glory and triumph were lifted up above the earth? Where are now the innumerable company and power of Xerxes and Caesar? Where are the great victories of Alexander and Pompey? Where are now the great riches of Croesus and Crassus? But what shall we say of those who once were kings and governors of this realm?  Where are they now whom we have known and seen in our days in such great wealth and glory that it was thought by many they would never have died, never have been forgotten? They had all their pleasures at the full, both of delicious and good fare, of hawking, hunting, also of excellent horses and stallions, greyhounds and hounds for their entertainment, their palaces well and richly furnished, strongholds and towns without number. They had a great plenty of gold and silver, many servants, fine apparel for themselves and their lodgings. They had the power of the law to proscribe, to punish, to exalt and set forward their friends and loved ones, to put down and make low their enemies, and also to punish by temporal death rebels and traitors. Every man held with them, all were at their command. Every man was obedient to them, feared them, also honored and praised them, everywhere now? Are they not gone and wasted like smoke? Of them it is written in another place, mox ut honorificati fuerint et exaltati, dificientes quemadmodum fumus deficient (when they were in their utmost prosperity and fame, they soon failed and came to nothing, even as smoke does) (Ps. 36:2). St. James compares the vanity of this life to a vapor, and he says it shall perish and wither away as a flower in the hay season. (James 4:15).

Saint John Fisher


Lent is a grand time to confront evil, both that evil which stains our souls, and the evil external to us.  Throughout the history of the Church there have been saints who risked all to bravely confront the popular evils of their time.  This Lent on each Sunday we will be looking at some of those saints.  We began with Saint Athanasius.  Go here to read about him.  This week we will look at Saint John Fisher.

When he ascended to the throne of England Henry VIII was popularly known as the Golden Hope of England.  His father Henry VII had never been loved by the people of England:  a miser and a distinctly unheroic figure no matter what Shakespeare would write in Richard III.  He had brought the end of the War of the Roses and peace to England, but that was about as much credit as his subjects would give the grasping, unlovable Henry Tudor.  His son by contrast looked like an Adonis when young, strong and athletic.  He had a sharp mind and had been well-educated, intended, ironically, for a career in the Church before the death of his elder brother Arthur.  He was reputed, correctly, to be pious.  He had considerable charisma in his youth and knew how to make himself loved with a well timed laugh or smile, and loved he was, by the nobles, commons, his wife Katherine, and the Church.  Few reigns started more auspiciously than that of Henry, eighth of that name.

By the end of his reign he was widely despised by most his subjects.  Called a crowned monster behind his back, his reign had brought religious turmoil to England and domestic strife.  The best known symbols of his reign were the headman’s axe, the stake and the boiling pot in which he had some of the luckless individuals who roused his fury boiled to death.

It of course is small wonder for a Catholic to have little love for Henry VIII and his reign, but the distaste for Henry extends well beyond members of the Church.  Winston Churchill, the great English statesman and historian, in his magisterial History of the English Speaking Peoples, has this to say about the executions of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher:

“The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand.  They realised the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom.  They saw that the break with Rome carried with it the risk of a despotism freed from every fetter.  More stood forth as the defender of all that was finest in the medieval outlook.  He represents to history its universality, its belief in spiritual values, and its instinctive sense of otherworldliness.  Henry VIII with cruel axe decapitated not only a wise and gifted counselor, but a system which, though it had failed to live up to its ideals in practice, had for long furnished mankind with its brightest dreams.”

Churchill himself was not noted for being a churchgoer.  When asked if he was a pillar of the Church of England, he quipped that perhaps he could be considered to be a flying butress of the Church, supporting it from outside.  Perhaps this helped give him a certain objectivity regarding Henry VIII.  Here is part of his summing up of Henry’s reign:

“Henry’s rule saw many advances in the growth and the character of the English state, but it is a hideous blot upon his record that the reign should be widely remembered for its executions.  Two Queens, two of the King’s chief Ministers, a saintly bishop, numerous abbots, monks and many ordinary folk who dared to resist the royal will were put to death.  Almost every member of the nobility in whom royal blood ran perished on the scaffold at Henry’s command.  Roman Catholic and Calvinist alike were burnt for heresy and religious treason.  These persecutions, inflicted in solemn manner by officers of the law, perhaps in the presence of the Council or even the King himself, form a brutal seqeul to the bright promise of the Renaissance.  The sufferings of devout men and women among the faggots, the use of torture, and the savage penalties imposed for even paltry crimes, stand in repellant contrast to the enlightened principles of humanism.” 


Born in 1469, John Fisher was noted for his great learning, the austerity of his life and his piety.  He was made Bishop of Rochester, the poorest diocese in England, at the personal insistence of Henry VIII in 1504.  Usually this was a stepping stone to ecclesiastical preferment, but Fisher stayed there for 31 years, doubtless because he had the courage to oppose the King whenever he was wrong, and so he did when Henry attempted to divorce Queen Katherine and when he broke with Rome.  Fisher made a strange champion to stand against a King.  He was noted as a scholar throughout Europe, a man of exceeding mildness and friendliness and someone clearly made for peace and contemplation and not for turmoil and strife in public life.  However for truth and the Faith Fisher was willing to stand virtually alone with a handful of others, including Saint Thomas More, against his terrifying Sovereign.


John Cardinal Fisher was made a Cardinal by Pope Paul III in May of 1535, King Henry stopped the cardinal’s hat from being brought into England, bellowing that he would send Fisher’s head to the Pope.  Tried by a kangaroo court and convicted, the only testimony brought against him was by Richard Rich, a specialist in lying men to the headman’s block.  Fisher was condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn.

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2 Responses to Saints of Lent: Cardinal John Fisher

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  • The king took John Cardinal Fisher’s life, but not his soul. The comment from Winston Churchill: “The resistance of More and Fisher to the royal supremacy in Church government was a heroic stand. They realized the defects of the existing Catholic system, but they hated and feared the aggressive nationalism which was destroying the unity of Christendom. Very little has changed, from then until now.

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4 Responses to Kids Open Thread

  • I love both of the children and their entrances. Hope Dad laughs it off, we’ve all been there in one form or another.

  • I hope that I look half as graceful as mom when she dives in for the extraction….

  • The children want to know what kind of world we are going to be handing over to them. The children will be better for knowing. The great big grown up world and the up and coming.

  • Slightly off topic…our 3month old baby boy came along to the parent teacher meeting for our daughter. During the 15minutes, he managed to a) leak his diaper on my husbands white shirt whilst he was holding him and b) let off a series of bowel movement noises during which we had to keep a poker face and pretend to ignore. They were loud!

    I loved the video of those 2 children who stormed their dads office during a live BBC interview. I see now they have become internet sensations! Very funny stuff.

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PopeWatch: Liturgical Dance

Saturday, March 11, AD 2017



From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:


After a humiliating loss for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, desperate La La Land stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have signed a one-weekend deal to teach liturgical dance at next year’s Religious Education Conference.

“Our theme next year will be ‘Embrace The Body Motion,’” Conference executive Bill Thompson said this morning. “All our dance lessons and events will focus on how we express our love for Christ by way of bodily gyration.”

The liturgical dance seminars will include more than 300 workshops on a variety of topics ranging from hallelujah hip-thrusting to pelvic praise.

“One of the main issues we want to tackle next year is people simply standing like robots as they pray,” Thompson said. “A number of workshops will also focus on not only what types spandex to wear, but how to get more men involved. We believe Mr. Gosling will be the catalyst to bringing in a fresh crop of men to participate.”

“For the first time next year the conference will include an interactive, multimedia dance experience where people will be able to feel what it’s like to be inside the body of a liturgical dancer,” Thompson concluded. “No one knows the necessity for true praise and worship until they’ve delved deep into the dark abyss of someone who wakes up one day and realizes that they’re putting on tights so that they can go up in front of a bunch of people at church to dance like idiots on the sanctuary of God.”

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6 Responses to PopeWatch: Liturgical Dance

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